H4 EAD to H1 conversion - easy or risky?

Currently, I am on an H4 EAD and am working full-time. I was working on H1B prior to the introduction of H4 EAD and have about 18 months left on my H1 B at this time. At this time, my H4 EAD expires in April 2020 and has been submitted for renewal.

However, because of the long processing times, I am not sure if my H4 EAD is going to be approved by April (currently, they are processing May 2019 cases per the USCIS site with the processing time mentioned as 7-8.5 months and mine was submitted in November).

Now to add to this complexity, my husband’s visa is going to be submitted for renewal in October 2020 which means even though my H4 EAD is approved this year, we have to submit again later this year for renewal.

My other option is to get on H1 B and wait until all of his visa formalities are taken care of and he receives his 3-year H1B renewal later this year.

2 questions if I chose that route -

  1. one is will I have to wait until October to start working if I convert from H4 EAD to H1 in premium this year or can I start working on a receipt/approval (I believe I’ll qualify for cap exempt).

  2. And second question is can I go back to H4 EAD once he receives his 3-year H1 B renewal later this year. Is going back and forth between H4 EAD to H1 B and back to H4 EAD risky?

I’ve been in the work stream for about 12 years now and we’ve been waiting for Green Card for about 11 years now, so it is all very frustrating and confusing. Any pointers or any advise on this is highly appreciated! Thanks much in advance!!!

Hi @ddimple

You can convert from H4 to H1B anytime. File H1B Change of status application in premium and get result within 15 days. You cannot use the H1B until it has been approved.

You will get your left over H1B time to use and you can do it anytime without waiting for october.

There is no risk. You will have to file H1B to H4 COS again later when you would like to come back to H4 and use H4 EAD.

Note that there is no premium processing available for H4. Hence, you will need to wait to use H4 EAD until H4 is approved. H4 COS can easily take more than 10 months to get approval.

You can reduce the H4 processing time by simply going out of US and get H4 visa stamp and reenter US and then file H4 EAD.

More scenarios and answers for H4 to H1b and then H4 here.

Thank you, Anil for your expedited response. So, one clarification, say I file for H1 B on April 1 under premium processing and receive an approval on April 15th, can I start working on the approval receipt from April 16th or do I need to wait until October before I can start working?

Hi @ddimple

If you are talking about first time H1B lottery application, then the earliest you can start working is Oct 1.